We’ve completely revamped our Parallels Cloud Service Provider blog and moved it to a new URL: spblog.parallels.com. If you happen to find yourself reading this post, we invite you to join us at our new address!
All posts by Parallels Cloud
Roll With the Times and Grow Your Business
If you are in your 40’s you were born into a world which is now long gone. Your first date was set up via a landline phone – maybe even a rotary dial! The first music you listened to was from a tape cassette or a vinyl record; flying was not like taking a bus; e-mails were unknown and… well, you get the picture.
Then along came mobile telephony and the internet and they changed the world forever. Today our lifestyle, information and hobbies, as well as work, can be found in one single device which is permanently connected to the internet – and of course it is also in our pocket most of the time.
Parallels Among Leading Linux Contributors Four Years in a Row
The Linux Foundation recently released their latest report on the state of Linux kernel development, and once again Parallels is listed as a top contributor and reviewer. This is the fourth time in as many years Parallels has been listed in the annual report. Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It, September 2013 gives a clear view of the leading innovators in the Linux community and some of the key developments over the last 18 months.
Major Price Reductions on Popular Domain Name Extensions
To help you be more successful in your business, we have made major price reductions on many of the most popular domain name extensions and numerous complementary online services. Whether you are an existing Parallels Domain Name Network reseller or want to join, you can now get the most competitive rates available.
Here are just a few examples of the new price cuts:
By signing up through Parallels Domain Name Network reseller program, you can enjoy all the benefits of being an eNom reseller without paying any setup fees! Sign-up for free to get volume-based pricing, access to 24/7 eNom tech support, a dedicated account manager, and easy-to-use tools to manage and grow your business. Sign up.
If you already have a Parallels Domain Name Network Account, you can benefit even more. For the first time ever, we are offering a special $8.88/year rate on .COM transfers until 12/31/2013. Consolidate your portfolio now to save money on every .COM transferred to eNom. Transfer now or contact sales at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What? A Parallels Solution for cPanel?
Parallels Web Presence Builder isn’t just for Parallels Plesk Panel anymore.
There’s a bit of a rivalry between users of Parallels Plesk Panel and users of cPanel. Those who host a handful of websites tend to lean toward cPanel, while those who host hundreds or thousands professionally prefer Parallels Plesk Panel and Parallels Plesk Automation. But no matter which hosting control panel you prefer, you have something in common – you can now offer Parallels Web Presence Builder via both control panels, and beef up your shared hosting offers to attract new customers.
Japanese SMB Cloud Journey Accelerates in 2013
Accounting for more than 99 percent of all local enterprises, Japanese small and medium businesses (SMBs) account for a substantial share of Japan’s economic output. Traditionally, Japanese SMBs largely operated as suppliers for large enterprises as part of the keiretsu system of integrated supply chain groups. With some exceptions, SMBs tend to focus on the domestic market and export indirectly via the value chains of large multinational enterprises and general trading houses.
Get It Right The First Time: The Importance of Customer Onboarding
by Duncan Robinson, Cloud Market Strategist, Parallels
Increase revenue per user and reduce churn – two of the key business drivers for service providers moving into the cloud. Customers who already have a relationship with service providers are a key target for cross-selling cloud services for good reason. Research by Parallels SMB Cloud Insights ™ shows that SMB customers are highly likely to consider their existing supplier for cloud services and 68% of US small businesses have a strong preference to buy more services from a single supplier. All good news for traditional service providers entering the cloud services market. However, making the most of this opportunity relies on delivering a great end-to-end customer experience.
A crucial (and often overlooked) part of this is customer onboarding. Customer onboarding is the process of setting up the customer’s service once they have completed their purchase. This is often done by phone appointment but can be done onsite (usually for an additional fee). This is a critical step as customers often don’t know how to set up and get the most from cloud services. Service providers need to take the lead in ensuring that customers have their services properly set up and help them to get the most out of them by providing advice on getting maximum business benefit.
To avoid churn, customers need to feel like they are getting value for their services. Imagine a scenario where a loyal, existing customer with 10 employees buys a new cloud service. None of the employees activate the service as they are unsure how to do it and eventually switch it off. This means the customer has been paying for something they have never used and are likely to feel pretty aggrieved at their service provider. Something meant to decrease churn could end up driving an increase!
The key to avoiding this is to build a high quality onboarding process into your end-to-end customer experience. We have seen great examples where service providers have implemented proper onboarding processes with impressive results. One such provider measures (on a weekly basis) customers who have been properly activated have a 90% lower churn rate than those who are inactive.
You can choose to do this in-house or outsource to a specialist partner. Either way it does require investment but will payback through lower churn, a reduction in ongoing calls to customer service and importantly higher customer satisfaction.
The message is clear: get it right the first time – invest upfront for happy customers and lower churn.
Learn more about Parallels Cloud Acceleration Services.
How Important is Online Store Design and Usability to Your Sales? Extremely.
Lessons Learned: Online Store Design Makes a Huge Difference to Order Completion and Conversion Rate.
Back in 2008 I was managing a hosting company in Russia. Our operations were fully automated by Parallels Business Automation Standard (PBAS), we were offering a full range of state-of-the-art hosting plans, and all of our hosting plans were competitively priced. Our sales were decent, but not spectacular, and they definitely weren’t growing as quickly as we wanted.
So we launched a research project to better understand our customer’s shopping experience and to pinpoint any problems. It shocked us to learn that for certain products up to 70% of our customers were not finishing their purchase. Clearly, something was happening during the purchasing process that created a barrier to completing transactions.
At the time we were using the standard store integration in PBAS, which was not necessarily designed to “sell,” but rather to show PHP code and PBAS API usage. User interface decisions made by programmers with knowledge of the internal code structure were perplexing to customers trying to use the store in a real-world environment.
To go deeper with our research we added a Kayako online chat button into every page of our online store.
Here are the main discoveries we made, and the changes we implemented to address these issues:
1. Customers don’t like to make difficult choices, and were simply “opting out” and leaving our store. We believed our typical customers were more or less “system administrators with degrees in Computer Science.” We wanted to impress them with flexibility and lots of interesting options, but when we started chatting with them we realized some of them, had no clue what “SLM memory limit” meant. So we reduced the number of options, renamed our resources and added simple descriptions. In short, we had to redesign our store so any person could understand and use it.
2. Multiple Call-To-Action elements were confusing and scaring regular customers away. Many customers were clicking on buttons and menu items in the shopping cart, which lead them away from the purchase process and even away from our web site. We wanted our customers to be 100% focused on the purchase, and determined that any additional information was simply defocusing clients from completing the purchase process.
3. Our customers’ emotional reaction to our web site was the fundamental driver in their purchasing decision. It became clear that long registration and configuration pages in our store were significantly reducing our sales.
4. A very slow shopping cart experience will make some people leave. Why? Because customers conclude that if the hoster’s own store is slow, their hosting will be even slower. So we had to increase our store performance.
It took us two months to make all these changes in the standard PBAS store, but the following results were well worth the effort. In the six months following the store changes:
• Abandoned shopping carts were reduced by 57%
• Online store sales increased by more than 150%
We shared all this information with Parallels PBAS developers who used the feedback, as well as feedback from other PBAS customers, to improve online store usability and functionality.
Today, PBAS Store is a ready-to-use and powerful tool. Released this month as part of Parallels Business Automation Standard 4.3.4, which includes:
• Simple, single-page order processing to reduce ordering time
• Redesigned, simplified, and streamlined interface
• Easy-to-add online chat services
• Ability to choose which resources are visible and add meaningful descriptions to them
• Support for stand-alone deployment on a high-performance dedicated server to increase store performance
• Many other enhancements
These enhancements demonstrate how Parallels learns from customer’s feedback to help its Partners grow their business. I am very proud to be part of this company.
I invite you to learn more about Parallels Business Automation Standard by visiting the PBAS web page, checking out the new store demo, viewing our recent webinar and upgrading to PBAS 4.3.4 today.
~ Alex Goncharov, Sr. Director, Product Marketing, Parallels
Cloud PBX Services Poised to Take Off
by John McMillan, Director, Partner Business Consulting, Parallels
SMBs make up 99% of businesses worldwide, and they are adopting cloud services. According to Parallels SMB Cloud Insights™ research, the most commonly adopted cloud services include: web hosting, security add-ons, and a wide range of SMB-focused SaaS applications. Parallels research predicts that, on average, SMBs will have seven cloud services by end of 2016, growing from four services consumed today.
One service that will enjoy broad SMB adoption is cloud PBX. Cloud PBX services are a classic example of the cloud’s transformational impact on the SMB segment, allowing SMBs to have access to an enterprise-class communications experience without the overhead cost and maintenance of a traditional in-house PBX system. Cloud PBX typically includes mobile integrations, an automated attendant, and web conferencing – all packaged and priced for SMBs.
In the US, up to 50% of SMBs who have an existing in-house PBX system today and up to 30% who have regular land-lines are interested in switching to cloud PBX services. It is easy to see why – cloud PBX services are a good solution for the following key SMB needs:
1) Projecting a professional, enterprise-like image by providing a single phone number for the business, extensions for employees, and simple call routing.
2) Increasing customer intimacy by quickly connecting clients to the right resource using an automated attendant.
3) Increasing worker productivity by extending cloud PBX features to mobile devices, providing anytime, anywhere communications with customers, partners and employees.
In conclusion, cloud PBX services are poised to gain broad adoption in the SMB segment, as more cloud service providers add them to their SaaS portfolios, and SMBs widely recognize the impact that cloud PBX can have on their business and customer experience.
Welcome Move from Google to MariaDB
This past week The Register reported that Google is migrating a thousand plus instances of MySQL to MariaDB. At Parallels we made the decision about six months ago to release the newest version of our popular Parallels Plesk Panel with support for MariaDB. Parallels Plesk Panel, used for web hosting and management, is now running on over 270,000 servers world-wide and the MariaDB support in Parallels Plesk Panel 11.5 has helped drive growth and adoption over the past few months. We are a strong supporter of the MariaDB Foundation and applaud Google’s move which, along with RedHat’s announcement earlier this year, further validates MariaDB market momentum. It is a healthy reaction to Oracle’s control of MySQL and the moves they have made to limit community involvement.